The Week



Flash: Large Meteor Seen in Berkeley Tonight

By Scott Morris (BCN) and Planet
Wednesday October 17, 2012 - 10:49:00 PM

A large meteor streaked across the night sky tonight and was seen and heard throughout the Bay Area and in Berkeley. -more-

Measure T’s Deceptive Mailers Falsely Claim Union Endorsement, Funds for Community Benefits (News Analysis)

By Rob Wrenn
Wednesday October 17, 2012 - 09:00:00 AM

Many Berkeley voters have now received two mailers from the Yes on Measure T campaign that are full of false claims. The first mailer includes, in its brief list of endorsers, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). The SEIU logo appears with “Local 21” underneath. SEIU Local 21 is a local in Louisiana and it’s doubtful that they have taken a position on Measure T.

The second mailer, which arrived at my home yesterday, lists SEIU Local 1021 as an endorser. Unlike Local 21, Local 1021 does actually exist in the Bay Area, representing public sector workers who work for Bay Area cities and counties. However, SEIU Local 1021 has not endorsed the measure. Quite the contrary, it has taken a position against the measure, which can be verified by visiting their Web site. The AFL-CIO’s Alameda [County] Labor Council has also declined to endorse Measure T. There is, in fact, little labor support for Measure T.

The Yes on T mailers make a number of other false claims about what the measure will do: -more-

Who's Financing Berkeley Campaigns?

By Thomas Lord (from The Berkeley Almanac)
Monday October 15, 2012 - 03:42:00 PM

If you wonder who's paying for all the Berkeley campaign information you've been seeing around town lately, now it's easy to find out.

Here's where the council and mayoral candidate campaign finances stood as of 9/30, in an easy-to-browse format created for The Berkeley Almanac:

This link will get the same kind of information regarding Berkeley ballot measures, and more:

The information comes from the city of Berkeley campaign finance web site. -more-

Press Release: UCPOLICE Safety Alert - Possible Mountain Lion Sighting

Friday October 12, 2012 - 06:36:00 PM

On 10-12-12, UCPD received unconfirmed information of a Mountain Lion sighting near the Smyth-Fernwald construction site. Third-hand information was relayed to UCPD regarding a contract security guard that saw three cubs chasing a doe and two fawns, possibly during the evening of 10-10-12.

Deer are a major food source for Mountain Lions. Last year, several sightings of mountain lions occurred in the hills above the Berkeley campus and carcasses of animals suspected to have been attacked by mountain lions were also discovered.

UCPD is following up on this information and will release further information to the public after interviews with the security company/guards are completed. -more-

Creative Protests Blanket Berkeley

By Carol Denney
Friday October 12, 2012 - 12:55:00 PM

A barbecue, a tea party, a meditation circle, a kids’ clown party and a huge chalk-in blanketed Berkeley on Sunday, October 7th, as several groups publicly demonstrated their opposition to the anti-sitting law (Measure S). -more-

Press Release: Berkeley Unified School District Shows Gains on the API and AYP

From Mark Coplan
Friday October 12, 2012 - 10:50:00 AM

The California Department of Education released the 2012 Accountability Progress Report today. This annual report contains two sections: 1) the state Academic Performance Index (API) measuring year-to-year growth in academic achievement that a school or local educational agency (LEA) has made, and 2) the federal Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) measuring how well a school meets minimum performance targets.

Academic Performance Index (API) - Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD) had an overall growth of 19 points resulting in a district-wide Academic Performance Index (API) of 810. The greatest gains in academic achievement are reflected in the 25 point increase in API for English Learners, 37 points for Students with Disabilities, and 16 points for Socio-economically Disadvantaged Students. When disaggregated by ethnicity, the API increased by double digits for African American (15), Asian (12), Hispanic or Latino (15), and White (13) students (see charts 1 & 2). Several district-wide initiatives have contributed to the gains for all student groups including the implementation of Response to Intervention and Instruction (RTI2) in our K-8 schools, focus on English Language Development and academic language instruction, reduced teacher-to-student ratio in middle school math classes, and collaboration time for teachers. -more-

New: Puppets Come to Council Meeting

By Carol Denney
Wednesday October 17, 2012 - 10:18:00 AM

Colorful ten foot puppets of religious and inspirational figures swayed their way up the circular steps to the Berkeley City Council meeting Tuesday along with a crowd of interfaith religious leaders, community members, and children. -more-

New: Sunday Streets Proves Sitting and Business Go Together

By Carol Denney
Tuesday October 16, 2012 - 08:33:00 AM

Anyone who thinks Berkeley needs an anti-sitting law to bring people to the commercial districts must have missed the Sunday Streets event October 14, 2012. Shattuck Avenue between Rose Street and Haste Street was awash with music, bubbles, strollers, dancers, sitters, walkers, bike riders, sunlight, and joy. -more-

A Curmudgeonly Potpourri

by The Occasional Curmudgeon
Friday October 12, 2012 - 09:40:00 AM

As a public service to assist readers in their preparation for the upcoming elections, yr. hmbl. (crmdgn.) svt. has assembled an informal guide for negotiating the 2012 political labyrinth.

Deciphering the Code

To be properly informed today, it’s important to develop translation skills to understand what candidates are really saying. As in George Orwell’s 1984, phrases or pronouncements spoken by today’s politicians often mean their opposite. Here are a few examples: -more-

Return to Telegraph Avenue

By Ted Friedman
Friday October 12, 2012 - 12:45:00 PM
Patches and  his doobie-smoking friend, Little Bird, giving his version of his latest pot bust.

This off-beat reporter, his heart on the South side, has been lured away on the mayoral campaign and measure S, leaving other measures to press releases, and our editor-in-chief's tightly reasoned endorsements.

We have had to base our speculations on the outcomes of the mayor's race and measure S on hearsay, or less.

But something we could sink our teeth into, something palpable...that we will only get from Telegraph Avenue. -more-

Full Election Coverage

Sunday October 14, 2012 - 12:42:00 PM

Are you confused about the upcoming election? Below you'll be able to find all the articles about the November 2012 election that have appeared to date in the Planet, in reverse chronological order, except that Planet editorials are at the top on the front page so they’re easier to find.

Also on the front page are links to a couple of excellent videos on YouTube which will make it possible for you to see the candidates both in a full debate and in sound bites. -more-



Following the Money Behind Berkeley Ballot Measures

By Becky O'Malley
Friday October 12, 2012 - 09:58:00 AM

If you want to get a good idea of how Berkeley is being governed, the list of who’s contributed to the shucking-and-jiving measures on the November ballot is a good place to start.

Why do I call Measures S and T shucking-and-jiving measures? Because the Bates-controlled majority on the Berkeley city council voted to place these two issues on the ballot as a way of ducking the responsibility vested in them to make things work in this city.

As far as Measure S is concerned, there are plenty enough laws on the books to control anti-social street behavior anywhere in the city at any time, but the current administration doesn’t enforce them, preferring instead to sucker the citizenry into thinking that prohibiting sitting down is going to bring nirvana to our mean streets.

And Measure T is an end run around perfectly workable provisions in the existing West Berkeley plan, notably the development agreements explained by Toni Mester in the last issue, by enacting spot zoning for a small handful of favored developers.

How do we know this? Well, who’s paying for these campaigns?

You can use the extremely useful Berkeley Ballot Measure Browser to quickly get the contribution information buried on the City of Berkeley’s web site. -more-

The Editor's Back Fence

Myth-Busting 101: Street-Sitting Ban Does NOT Work for Santa Cruz Either

Friday October 12, 2012 - 10:46:00 AM

“Former Santa Cruz Mayor Rotkin said that in the eighteen years since the city passed its sit/lie law, business has generally seen an uptick. The businesses that flank Santa Cruz's main thoroughfare on Pacific Avenue are a robust mix of chains and smaller boutiques.’

So, who are you going to believe? What Express Music Editor Rachel Swan quotes a Santa Cruz lifer politician as claiming, instead of your own eyes? Has the ban on sitting on the street really worked in that city?

Last Monday night (a school holiday) we took five or six girls (they moved too fast to count), including our granddaughters, downtown in Santa Cruz for ice cream. Along the way we snapped a few pictures of just some of the sidewalk sitters who are still there in abundance, contrary to the ex-Mayor’s claims.

(Santa Cruz is awash in ex-Mayors, who serve only a one year term—the father of our granddaughters is one of them. Now there’s a Santa Cruz law that Berkeley should adopt!)

Another contradiction to Rotkin’s report—as we walked along we noticed to the kids’ distress that their favorite Mexican restaurant, Acapulco, where they’d been going all their lives, had shut down, abruptly and with no explanation, adding yet another empty storefront to the less-than-robust Pacific street mix.

Will Measure S fix downtown Berkeley? Not a prayer... -more-


Odd Bodkins: Eisenhower (Cartoon)

By Dan O'Neill
Friday October 12, 2012 - 11:00:00 AM

Public Comment

New: Complaint Filed with Berkeley’s Fair Campaign Practices Commission Regarding Yes on T’s Illegal/Fraudulent Endorsements

By Zelda Bronstein
Wednesday October 17, 2012 - 05:20:00 PM

In an effort to stem the rampant dishonesty of the campaign to rezone West Berkeley to profit a few big developers, as reported in the Berkeley Daily Planet and on, on October 17 I filed two complaints with the City of Berkeley Fair Campaign Practices Commission (FCPC). -more-

Officer #145 and Your Tax Dollars at Work

By Carol Denney
Friday October 12, 2012 - 12:44:00 PM

A small, quiet crowd gathered near Center Street and Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley on Sunday, October 7th, watching a group of artists sketch and fill in a large chalk representation of "The Last Supper", a painting by Leonardo da Vinci of Jesus eating at a table with his disciples. Across the top was the statement, "Let Us Sit Together and Break Bread." -more-

Measure M: Investing in Streets and Green infrastructure - Providing Multiple Benefits Now and Saving Money in the Future

By Larry Henry, Past Chairperson and current Vice-Chairperson of the Berkeley Public Works Commission
Friday October 12, 2012 - 12:28:00 PM

Berkeley’s streets are in poor shape and its 80-year old storm drain system cannot adequately handle the water-flow of major storms. The EPA is requiring Berkeley to reduce the amount of heavy metals runoff draining into San Francisco Bay during storms. To mitigate this, the City is increasing street sweeping frequency, but this is not enough to reduce heavy metal run-off to acceptable levels. To fix the street quality and stormwater management problems will require major investments over several decades and the benefits are inter-generational, thus bonding is the appropriate funding mechanism. Delaying this investment will allow these vital infrastructures to deteriorate further, leading to an increase in the final costs of the repair and effect on our environment. Comprehensive solutions require an effective proven approach tailored to the interconnected nature of the problems. -more-

New: Tell Your Rent Board This Friday You Need to Breathe Clean Air

By Carol Denney
Wednesday October 17, 2012 - 01:02:00 PM

Tired of breathing your neighbor’s secondhand smoke? Come to the Ad Hoc Committee on Smokefree Housing on Friday, October 19, 1:00 pm (2001 Center Street, Law Library, 2nd Floor) and tell the Rent Board. -more-

Can We Elect A President Who Will Help Us All?

By Romila Knanna
Friday October 12, 2012 - 01:11:00 PM

November 6th is only 30 days away from us voters. We must think ahead to cast our vote for someone who will bring the country back to its past glory of better health, better education, better economy and safely of movement from place to place. People of different colors, different financial status and different creeds all live here. We all need peaceful and secure environments to flourish in. Powerful people at the top ranks in the public sector forget that they are elected to serve ordinary people. They forget that their chief job is help citizens secure the education and health care which makes them capable workers. The poorest people in society have lacked a boost for the last ten years. Can we elect a President who will help us all? -more-

Mountain Bikes Should be Out of the East Bay Parks

By J. Muir
Friday October 12, 2012 - 01:04:00 PM

Since the Park District is revising its Master Plan, now is the perfect time to ask them to get mountain biking out of the parks! Mountain bikes, with their "aggressive" knobby tires and high speed, grind the trails into powder, which washes away in the first rain, leaving V-shaped ruts and degraded creeks and other habitat. Even the mountain bikers themselves, with rare candor, use the term "shredding the trails" to refer to mountain biking. -more-

Should Berkeley be Thinking About an Earthquake?

By Lee Sand Walker
Friday October 12, 2012 - 01:00:00 PM

Richard Schwartz's report on the October 17, 1868 Hayward Fault Quake should be a must-read for everyone living in Berkeley during what seems to be earthquake season. If/when there is another huge quake here, it will be worthwhile to be prepared by joining in the Great Shakeout earthquake drill scheduled for October 18. Last year's drill on October 20 was followed by the two largest quakes of 2011(longer?) to shake Berkeley, as if to suggest that the Hayward fault is under such stress that even our thinking about an earthquake can set it off. Thank God that the 2011 quakes were small enough to be harmless while still releasing at least a little stress off the Hayward fault. -more-

KPFA and the Blame Game

By Tracy Rosenberg
Sunday October 14, 2012 - 11:30:00 AM

KPFA Radio, the first listener-sponsored radio station and progressive media outlet, is having board elections in November. Many of you will say “again?” - having recently received postcards and ballots for a recall election just a few months ago. This time, however, your vote will count, and there are some important decisions to be made. This article is intended to help you decide how to vote if you are a KPFA member – and encourage you to do so. It’s not as hard as it may feel to decipher all the rhetoric! -more-


AGAINST FORGETTING: President Obama: “It’s not true.”

By Ruth Rosen
Wednesday October 17, 2012 - 03:28:00 PM

The real surprise was that President Obama explained why so-called "women's issues" are everyone's issues - college students, health care, medicare, social security and equal pay for women and men. He reminded people that women are more than the sum of their reproductive organs; they are workers and family members -more-

THE PUBLIC EYE: Obama vs. Romney: Jobs

By Bob Burnett
Friday October 12, 2012 - 12:09:00 PM

Jobs and the economy remain Americans’ number one concern. While Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have promised to create millions of jobs if they are elected President, there are stark differences between their plans. -more-

AGAINST FORGETTING: Women Are the Key to the Presidential Debate and Election

By Ruth Rosen
Friday October 12, 2012 - 10:59:00 AM

In round two of the presidential debates, Biden might have done a better job than Obama of exposing the salesmanship of the Romney-Ryan campaign, but he did little to regain lost ground with respect to women voters. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Computer Literacy

By Jack Bragen
Friday October 12, 2012 - 12:39:00 PM

Computers for persons with mental illness can be very helpful in making a meaningful recovery. However, they can be a source for paranoia; a person with paranoid tendencies to begin with may imagine being spied on by his or her computer. Computers can also be a source of problems when being used by people who have addictive or otherwise problematic personalities. -more-

Arts & Events

DON'T MISS THIS: Your Voice, Your Vote

By Dorothy Snodgrass
Friday October 12, 2012 - 01:06:00 PM

Like millions of other television viewers, you no doubt watched last Wednesday's Presidential Debates. You'll have to agree they were pretty boring. But brace yourself -- there's to be another debate on Oct. l6. Thank the good Lord, in our democratic society voters have the privilege of watching the two opposing candidates, deciding which one is better qualified to cope with weighty issues, such as Health Care Reform. -more-

Press Release: Every Mother is a A Working Mother: Press Conference & Speak Out

From Neil Myhand
Friday October 12, 2012 - 12:12:00 PM

What: Press Conference & Speak Out

When: Monday October 15, 2012 12 noon-2pm

Where: Alameda County Social Services, 2000 San Pablo Ave, Oakland (btn 20th & 21st Street)

Who: Nell Myhand (510) 302-7459

Moms and other caregivers say to Prez candidates, “Yes, every mother is a working mother. What will you do to recognize the real value of our work and end the poverty of children and their hard-working mothers?”

On the eve of the second presidential debate, mothers and other caregivers are holding coordinated actions in 12 US cities to launch a campaign for recognition of caregiving work and an end to the immoral and shocking poverty of mothers and children. The campaigners are calling for the enactment of the Women’s Option to Raise Kids Act (WORK Act HR4379) introduced by Rep Pete Stark (D-California) and the Rise Out of Poverty Act (RISE Act HR3573) introduced by Rep Gwen Moore (D-Wisconsin, herself a former welfare mother). The bills recognize the work of mothers and call for resources for no and low-income mothers. -more-

Oakland’s Shoreline Benefits from The Student Conservation Association’s Youth Programs

By Matthew Greenfield
Tuesday October 16, 2012 - 10:55:00 AM

More than 50 high school students from the environmental studies class at Skyline High School in Oakland will join the Student Conservation Association (SCA) and Pick Up America on October 19 from 2p.m. for a “Youth Day of Service” cleanup and restoration event to benefit the Oakland shoreline of Martin Luther King, Jr. Regional Shoreline Park. SCA is a nationwide conservation workforce of college and high school volunteers who protect and restore America’s parks, forests, refuges, seashores and communities. Pick Up America is the nation's first coast-to-coast roadside litter pick-up and was started by SCA alumnus Jeff Chen. -more-

New: PlayGround: Incubator for New Plays Monthly Mondays at Rep

By John A. McMullen II
Tuesday October 16, 2012 - 10:39:00 AM

Something is going on at Berkeley Rep once a month on Monday Nights. -more-

Mayoral & District 3 Candidates’ Night Sponsored by LeConte & Willard Neighborhood Associations

Friday October 12, 2012 - 01:12:00 PM

Mayoral & District 3 Candidates’ Night, Sponsored by LeConte & Williard Neighborhood Associations

Thursday, October 18th at 7:00 pm

LeConte School Auditorium, 2241 Russell Street, between Ellsworth and Fulton Streets